The second match of the CPL 2023 season takes place on Thursday night when the Daren Sammy Stadium opens its doors to the St Lucia Kings and the Barbados Royals for the latest offering from the Caribbean Premier League.
The Kings got their new season underway on Wednesday night with a defeat to the defending champions Jamaica and now they face the losing finalists from last term in the Royals, who start out on their journey in this game.
St Lucia Kings
The St Lucia Kings went into the new season with their hopes high of delivering on their potential to win the trophy but that path hit an immediate hurdle when they failed to overcome the defending champions Jamaica Tallawahs in their opening match. Losing to the winners of last year is no bad thing in isolation but in a competition where the home leg comes thick and fast they certainly won’t want to compound that with another loss here.
The Kings failed to maintain control of their bowling innings in the last few overs and that always looked like it might be an issue for them. They don’t really have a top drawer spinner of note to call upon so if they don’t take a number of wickets up front then they are going to leave themselves exposed. A couple of their batters looked like they were short of a gallop on Wednesday and St Lucia will need them to come on for the run here.
The Barbados Royals found only the Jamaica Tallawahs too good for them last season and now they set about going one better this time around. They have recruited the man who masterminded their downfall in the final last year in Rovman Powell and if he can get this Royals side playing with the aggression and intensity that his Jamaica team performed with he will be well on his way to lifting the trophy for a second year in succession.
You sense the Royals will improve as this competition goes on both because their home leg doesn’t come until the middle of the tournament and also because they have a couple of players who start the campaign playing in The Hundred and won’t arrive for another week or so. When everyone is here this is a team that looks big hitting batting heavy but what they do have is a death bowler in Obed McCoy who can make any team struggle at the end of the innings.
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Roston Chase shone with the bat and the ball in the defeat against the Jamaica Tallawahs on Wednesday evening and the St Lucia Kings will be hoping that he can deliver another excellent all-round performance in this game.
Kyle Mayers has the potential to blow any match wide open with the bat in hand but he can also take a scalp or two with the ball if he is given the option of opening the bowling. You sense his fast starts will be needed while Barbados wait for players to arrive.
I took the sixes in the opening match of the tournament on this ground on Wednesday and the 14.5 line was covered with both sides hitting eight sixes. I would have the Barbados Royals down as pound for pound the biggest hitting side in this competition so I’m amazed that we get the same line here, especially when you consider that the St Lucia Kings are only likely to come on for the run having had that hit out on Wednesday.
The one thing we saw on Wednesday is the pitch played brilliantly and there is no reason why that will change here so with the Barbados Royals bringing the likes of Kyle Mayers, Rakheem Cornwall, Jason Holder, Rovman Powell and Donovan Ferreira to the party we should expect even more sixes here. They mentioned in the coverage on Wednesday that this is one of the highest scoring grounds in the Caribbean and we have two teams who can take full advantage of that here.
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